Getting a green card through investment is a two- to five-step process. Unlike many other types of green card applications, you can perform all the steps on your own, without needing someone in the U.S. to file a petition on your behalf (though you should probably get a lawyer's help).
If you are eligible for an EB-5, you must follow these steps to get your green card:
First, you mail what’s called a visa petition to a regional service center of of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), to show that you either have made or are in the process of making a qualifying business investment in the United States. This is done using Form I-526, available on the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov.
The purpose of this form is to demonstrate that you’re actively making an investment in a qualified U.S. business. Form I-526 comes with lengthy and detailed instructions about what documentation you will need to include along with it. For example, you will have to present a comprehensive business plan; evidence that you have sufficient funds to invest, such as bank statements or lines of credit; a written contract legally committing you to make the investment; a detailed written explanation of the nature of the business; as well as details of exactly how the invested funds will be used, including a list of the specific job openings you expect to have over the first two years of the business.
Second, you wait until your petition is approved by USCIS (which can take months). Then, if the number of petitions is greater than the number of available investor visas when you apply, you wait until your Priority Date is current and a visa is available to you. Fortunately, there is rarely a wait in this category, so you’re unlikely to have to worry about this.
Third, after your petition has been approved, you and your accompanying spouse and children, if any, prepare and submit your applications for green cards, either at a U.S. consulate outside the United States, or possibly at a USCIS office within the United States. (The latter option is mainly available to people who are already legally in the United States, for example on another type of visa.)
The consulate, if you apply at one, will send you the necessary forms to fill out and instructions on where to have your medical exam done; but if you apply in the U.S., you’ll need to obtain the forms on your own, and get a list of USCIS-approved doctors (all of which is available from www.uscis.gov). You will need to attend an interview with a consular or USCIS official, who will make a decision on whether to approve or deny your application.
Fourth, if you were approved at an interview held at a U.S. consulate in another country, you enter the U.S. with your immigrant visa. Only then do you become a U.S. resident. Your green card will initially be only conditional—that is, it will expire in two years, after which you will need to apply to renew it and make it permanent.
Fifth, you must apply to remove the conditions to your conditional resident status during the 90-day period prior to your second anniversary as a conditional resident.
Because of the complexity of the application process, it is highly recommended that you hire an attorney to help you with this process.